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Activity Forums Avid Media Composer Buying New Mac Setup

  • Buying New Mac Setup

    Posted by Trevor Ambrose on July 9, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Folks,

    I need to buy a new Avid/Mac setup for a remote feature I have coming up. Up until now I have been using a cheese grater and a dongle. Ideally, I like working with 3 30″ monitors. Monitor 1 is for scriptsync and project. Monitor 2 is for bins and composer. Monitor 3 is always dedicated to fullscreen. Will a Mac Studio M1 max be good enough or do I need M1 ultra? I’m trying to keep costs down but I don’t want to handcuff myself into a very limited system. Should I be considering any add-ons to the Mac like more ram? I’m considering 30″ Dell UltraSharp monitors but they seem pricey. Are there other monitors that are just as good but cheaper? In terms of subscription, should I get MC or MC Ultimate? Is there anything else I should be considering?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


    Trevor Ambrose – Schitt’s Creek editor

    Trevor Ambrose replied 1 year, 9 months ago 4 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • Chris Bové

    July 11, 2022 at 11:18 am

    Hi Trevor. I run a very similar setup – 3 monitors, in the same config you mentioned… actually 4, because 1-scripts, 2-bins, 3-timeline, 4-client output from an AJA T-Tap. But I often disable that so I can turn monitor 3 into fullscreen.

    I’m running a few systems. One’s a 2014 trashcan. One’s a 2019 Intel macbook pro. One’s an M1 macmini. I’ve been happy with all, including the M1. But there’s a catch to the M1s. There’s a heavy misconception out there that they have some sort of new magical RAM that handles anything. It’s not the case. The RAM “swap” is terrific and new, but the need for more RAM = more performance is absolutely still true. So if you can grab something with 32 or higher, do so.

    The M1s, in any flavor at the moment, are all terrific. You’ll simply need to be selective which ones you look at. For example, I know that when the new M1 iMacs first came out, everyone was surprised that you had a limit of only one external display you could attach.

    In the end, know that the Intel chips are still terrific. Especially for offline editing, even at higher resolutions. For the moment, the advantage the M1s are having, with or without Avid products, is in the RAM “swap” which is more for having many apps open at once than it is for performance of in-app stuff.

    Hit me here or at if you have more Q’s.

  • Trevor Ambrose

    July 12, 2022 at 12:09 am

    Hey Chris!

    Thanks so much for your excellent and very clear reply! I’m thinking about getting the M1 Max with 64 GB of unified memory. Do you think that’s good enough?

    Also, I thinking about getting 30″ Dell UltraSharp monitors. They’re kind of expensive. Do you have any other less expensive but just as good recommends?

    Thanks again!

    Trevor Ambrose editor – Schitt’s Creek

  • Chris Bové

    July 12, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Hi Trevor. Yes the Max with 64 is gonna be perfectly fine. Anything above that, I’d reserve for heavier multi-cam workflows and for peeps who need to also have full After Effects projects rendering in the background while you’re using MC.

    Don’t tell anyone, but there’s a monitor secret right now… All of the editors I know are hitting eBay for the 27″ Apple Thunderbolt displays from a few ears ago. The resolution is 2560×1440 which is actually perfectly fine up against others out there right now, plus you can grab them used for $200-500 everywhere. Yeah you’ll prolly have to meet some craigslist dude at a gas station to pick it up, but whatever. They do un a little hot, and require a TB-to-USBC adapter, but overall they’re still great. If you wanna go new, stay away from HD ones. Stuff like the HP E24U looks nice on paper, but once you get it in front of you, it’s like an iPhone gen-1 resolution. Go for the higher resolution screens, even if they break the bank a bit.

  • Eric Santiago

    July 12, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    We have a few of those Apple 27″ Thunderbolt.

    My first test with the M1 Pro MBP didn’t go so well with one display.

    None of the USB options worked.

    The camera was fine and the display is awesome.

    However, it was one dud of 6 displays so that will have to sit back with the tubes.

    Check first if you can just in case.

  • Trevor Ambrose

    July 12, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    Hey Chris. That is extremely helpful. One last question (I promise) I’m still thinking of the Dell UltraSharp. (I want new and modern) For 30′ they are 1400 each which is a lot. Do you know of any other monitors that are just as good for less?

  • Trevor Ambrose

    July 12, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Hey Eric, Thanks for your reply! I’m going to ask you the same thing I just asked Chris:

    I’m still thinking of the Dell UltraSharp. (I want new and modern)
    For 30″ they are 1400 (CAD) each which is a lot. Do you know of any other
    monitors that are just as good for less?

  • Chris Bové

    July 12, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Gotcha. Hmmm… I’m not seeing them that expensive. I did a general search online and am finding them between $850 and $1,000 everywhere.

    If you’re looking for their competitors, Google “2560 x 1600 at 60Hz resolution” and see which ones come up.

    When hunting for competitor displays it is AAAALLLL about the refresh rate and the maximum resolution. Everything else – contrast ratios and all that other crap – is for TVs and client monitors. Just chase the Hz rate and the screen resolution, and you’ll find a decent competitor to the Dell ultrasharps.

  • Trevor Ambrose

    July 12, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    What awesome advice! Thanks man. Hope to buy you a beer some day! 🙂

  • Trevor Ambrose

    July 12, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Sorry! I’m a goof. One last question and I mean it. Apparently the base model Studio M1 Max has 32 GB of unified memory not 64. Do you think I would need to upgrade to 64?

  • Patrick Donegan

    July 14, 2022 at 1:13 am

    Next year you might want 64GB of RAM – so order it now.

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